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Siena poll finds Gibson leading Murphy by 9 points

By Lombardo David
Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Siena Research Institute poll in New York’s 20th Congressional race, released today, found that Republican Chris Gibson has a nine-point lead over incumbent Democrat Scott Murphy.

The poll found that Murphy received the support of 42 percent of those surveyed and Gibson garnered 51 percent of those surveyed, with one percent not voting and six percent still up for grabs.

The two major parties broke almost evenly in support of their party’s candidate, but Gibson’s edge comes from independent voters who support him over Murphy, 49 percent to 42 percent.

Voters surveyed were split on Murphy, with 45 percent perceiving him favorably and 45 percent having a negative view of him. While Gibson matched Murphy’s positive rating, his negative rating was 15 points lower and 24 percent surveyed had no opinion on Gibson.

These figures, along with the 52 percent of district voters who prefer “someone else” to Murphy, may lend credence to the idea that Gibson is benefiting from an “anyone else” mentality that has swept the country.

This mentality may also be reflected in the finding that 66 percent of voters surveyed feel like the country is on the wrong track.

On Monday, former President Bill Clinton is scheduled to visit the district in support of Murphy’s candidacy. It is unclear what kind of boost this will provide, but it is possible that he would generate more support than President Barack Obama, who is perceived negatively by 56 percent of district voters.

This poll reflects a sharp reversal in the campaign, with Murphy leading in almost all earlier polls.

The day before the release of this poll, respected election forecaster Nate Silver, of the FiveThirtyEight blog on The New York Times website, predicted that Murphy would win the seat by a margin of less than 2 percent. It will be interesting to see what his next model projects after today’s findings.

The impact of the tea party on the race is downplayed in this poll, with an equal number of district voters supporting it as opposing it.

Ultimately, though, the race will come down to turnout, with Gibson’s lead in this poll relying on a voter breakdown of 41 percent Republican, 27 percent Democratic and 29 percent independent. If the demographics shift, Murphy has a chance.

The poll surveyed 676 voters from Oct. 23 to 25, with a margin of error just below 4 percent.

Reach Gazette reporter David Lombardo at 395-3134 or dlombardo@dailygazette.net.

 
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